My letter to The New Paper on the above matter is published today, Monday 22 February 2016
I applaud our local celebrities and the media for raising awareness of the lives and struggles of our domestic helpers in their home countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines (“Close look, closer bond”; The New Paper on Tuesday, Feb 16).
In these countries, natural disasters result in many people experiencing severe hardships.
In the Philippines, during typhoons, power supply is cut off and people in the provinces have to go down to the river to wash their clothing. This can be dangerous as the current can pull them in.
Communication links also break down and domestic helpers here get anxious when they are unable to contact their loved ones back home.
On a recent visit to Manila, I saw abandoned children begging for pesos to buy a meal. They sleep in supermarkets and food centres.
I gave what I could and their smiles made my day.
In Singapore, you turn on the tap, you get water; you turn on the switch, and your lights come on.
This is not always the case in countries like the Philippines, especially during natural disasters.
It is not unusual to see children studying by candlelight there.
Singaporeans are fortunate in that no one here will be deprived of food, electricity or water.
This is why employers must treat their domestic helpers, who toil day and night, with compassion and kindness.
I have admiration for these workers, who send money home so that their loved ones can have a better life, and it delights me when I see families enjoying a meal with their helpers.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO